Lady Rams win in NCISAA opener

Published 12:27 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2012

AHOSKIE – They walked off the floor of Revelle Gymtorium for the last time as winners.

Seniors Miller Bryant and Lauren Colson led Ridgecroft School’s Lady Rams to a 52-48 victory over Trinity School of Durham in the first round of the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association 1-A tournament and, in so doing, left the school as winners. The rest of the tournament will be played in Raleigh.

Despite missing more than a quarter while saddled with four fouls, Bryant was key on the defensive end and had six assists on the offensive end to go with three points.

Colson provided 10 points and seven rebounds during the contest to help lead her team.

Offensively, the Rams were led by Hennie Larabee’s 19 points and Mary-joe Harrell’s 12 points.

“It’s bitter-sweet,” Bryant said of winning her final game on her home court. “I get to play another game, but it’s sad that I won’t play here again. I have enjoyed every minute of it.”

Colson agreed.

“It feels good to win the last time I’ll play in this gym, but I’m going to miss it,” she said. “I’m excited by the chance to go on in the tournament and hopefully reach the Final Four.

“It was very important to me to win this game – for the team and the coaches because they have done so much for us,” she added. “I wanted them to be proud.”

The game itself wasn’t over until the final seconds. Despite having an eight-point lead with over three minutes to play, the Lady Rams found themselves trailing 48-47 with less than a minute to go.

Larabee then scored from the floor with 32.8 seconds to play and was fouled. She completed the three-point play and gave her team a two-point lead.

Trinity then turned the ball over and Colson scored with eight seconds to play to secure the win.

“I was so excited for the girls, especially my seniors,” Ridgecroft Head Coach Susan Oliver said. “I have been with them since middle school so it was important for us to see them leave the floor at Ridgecroft knowing they won the last time they were on this court.”

Oliver said she knew her team needed a big shot late in the game and that Larabee provided it.

“It was definitely a clincher for us,” she said. “It helped swing the momentum back in our favor; got our fans up and our team up.”

In addition to the late surge, a key series for the Rams came in the third quarter when Bryant went to the bench with her fourth foul and Harrell stepped up and hit two three-pointers and to preserve the Ridgecroft lead.

Oliver said her team has been doing that kind of thing all season.

“The thing about us is we don’t have an All-Star,” Oliver said. “When one of us has trouble, the other one steps up just like tonight. That’s how we’ve gotten this far this year.”

Ridgecroft, seeded number five in the state tourney, will be back in action Thursday night when they face fourth-seeded Oakwood School at 7 p.m. on the campus of North Raleigh Christian Academy.